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VW : International Metalworkers' Federation and VW employee representatives sign Global Charter

Press release
Source: Volkswagen

Zwickau,- As the first employer, the Volkswagen Group has adopted a "Global Labor Charter". The Charter sets out binding minimum standards for the entire Group in the area of the participation rights of employee representative bodies at the level of individual facilities. The Charter, concluded between employee representative bodies, the Group Board of Management and the International Metalworkers' Federation, was signed at the meeting of the Global Group Works Council held at the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau. The meeting was attended by employee representatives from the Group's more than 60 locations in 15 countries, the Volkswagen Group Board of Management and the international human resources managers of the Group.

(at the front, from left to right): President of the Global Group Works Council, Bernd Osterloh and Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen AG, (behind, from left to right): Secretary general of the Global Group Works Council, Michael Riffel, Dr. Horst Neumann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG responsible for Human Resources, and Berthold Huber, President of the International Metalworkers' Federation and President of IG Metall

The President of the Global Group Works Council, Bernd Osterloh, said: "With this Charter, we have set another milestone in the international development and harmonization of employee rights. Codetermination always means shared responsibility. At Volkswagen, employees and the employer are shouldering this challenge."

The member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG responsible for Human Resources, Dr. Horst Neumann, emphasized: "The participation of employee representatives laid down in the Charter, in the form of information, consultation and codetermination rights, calls for competence and dedication. Employee participation and a positive attitude to performance are two sides of the same coin."

The President of the International Metalworkers' Federation and President of IG Metall, Berthold Huber, stressed: "The Charter is to improve world-wide labor relations standards at all locations. The fact that employers and employee representatives are negotiating on the future of labor relations in these economically troubled times demonstrates the importance attached to these issues by both sides. The charter is an expression of the special culture of codetermination at Volkswagen, a codetermination culture that Volkswagen has made successful."

The Global Labor Charter sets out the participation rights of employee representative bodies in the following areas: human resources and social matters, labor organization, remuneration systems, information and communication, initial and advanced training, occupational health and safety, controlling, and social and ecological sustainability. A distinction is made between three stages in participation, the right to receive information, consultation rights and codetermination. At the Group's locations, the Charter will be implemented on the basis of specific agreements reached between the managements and employee representatives of the plants concerned.

The Charter also provides for annual location symposia at which management and employee representatives are to discuss the development of the location within the relevant planning period and especially employment prospects.

In addition, the Charter also grants to global employee representative bodies the right to hold workforce meetings at least once per year. At these meetings, management is to inform the workforce on the economic situation, the development of the location and developments in the area of human resources and social matters.

The Global Labor Charter continues the approach adopted by the Volkswagen Group in existing international agreements. The Global Group Works Council, the Group Board of Management and the International Metalworkers' Federation already agreed on a Social Charter in 2002. This Charter documents fundamental social principles and rights that apply at all Group sites and expresses Volkswagen's commitment to its corporate policy.

In 2004, the Volkswagen Group also adopted a uniform, sustainable health and safety policy. Under the agreements which have been in place since then, the Group is to maintain and foster the health, performance capabilities and job satisfaction of its employees at Group locations throughout the world in the development, production and marketing of automobiles.

The Group Global Works Council and the Group set another milestone in 2006 with the agreement on sustainability in supplier relations. Since then, minimum global standards have been in place for the production processes and labor conditions of Volkswagen suppliers. These standards are based on those also practiced by Volkswagen at its own facilities.

photo:Volkswagen